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1 June 2006

News, Views, & Analysis Governments, Lobbies, & the
Corporate Media Don't Want You To Know




MER - MiddleEast.Org - Washington - 1 June: David Hirst, author of the classic THE GUN AND THE OLIVE BRANCH, is among a handful of senior Anglo-American journalists who know the Middle East extraordinarily well. Hirst has been reporting from the region for literally a lifetime. And whenever he puts his words on paper he does so in an extraordinarily authentic and insightful way. Hirst's fingering of the Israelis as substantially responsible for what has happened is on target even as American news organizations continue to fear reporting this critical part of the overall story.

Bush administration is playing dangerous games in Middle East

Iraq, Palestine, Iran - the plans for 'regime change' by the pro-Israeli US neocons is threatening a mega-crisis in the region that will be felt around the world

By David Hirst
Wednesday, May 31, 2006,Page 9

Patients with chronic kidney disease dying for lack of their routine dialysis, 165,000 employees of the Palestine Authority unpaid for two- and-a-half months, women selling their jewelry for fuel or food ... the "humanitarian crisis" of the West Bank and Gaza is not a Darfur. And what most shocks Arabs and Muslims is that it stems from a conscious political decision by the world's only superpower.

First, they say, you give us Iraq, now on the brink of civil war. Then this: the starving of a whole people.

The psychological and strategic linkage between Iraq and Palestine is far from new. But its latest, most intense phase began with the US invasion of Iraq -- conceived by the [George W.] Bush administration's pro-Israeli neoconservatives as the first great step in their region-wide scheme for "regime change" and "democratization," whose consummation was to be an Arab-Israeli settlement.

Indeed -- as professors John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt argue in their now celebrated study, The Israel Lobby -- there very likely wouldn't have been an invasion at all but for Israel and, above all, its partisans inside the US.

But it had always been crystal clear that the more authentic any democracy Arabs or Palestinians did come to enjoy, US-inspired or not, the more their conception of a settlement would collide with the US-Israeli one. The point was swiftly proved, in the wake of Hamas's assumption of power, when Bush declared: "We support democracy, but that doesn't mean we have to support governments elected as a result of democracy."

And his administration set about engineering Palestinian "regime change" in reverse.

Its strategy found more or less willing accomplices -- Europeans, Arab governments, the Palestinians themselves. But it was always going to be a perilous one; the more vigorously it was pursued in the face of the opposition that it was bound to encounter, the more likely it was to make of Palestine a crucible of trouble for its own people, the region and the world -- very much like the one that other quasi-colonial Western intervention had already made of Iraq.

The idea was to get the Palestinians, through collective punishment, to repudiate the very people they had just elected. Some do blame Hamas. But most of those blame the US much more. If anything, sanctions have had the opposite effect from that intended, encouraging people to rally round the new government. Buoyed by its own popularity, on top of its electoral legitimacy, Hamas won't easily relinquish power -- "not without a war," said Iyyad Sarraj, a Gaza psychologist.

Even if the US did succeed in bringing it down, it would, like the overthrow of former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein, be a catastrophic kind of success -- plunging Palestine, too, into the chaos and internecine strife that is the antithesis of the modern, democratic, pro-Western Middle East order it is trying to build.

It is clear that, with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' bombshell proposal for a referendum on the nature of a final peace raising the political stakes and with skirmishes in Gaza raising the military ones, war between Hamas and Fatah is eminently possible. It is far from clear that the US' "side" could win.

"If Fatah couldn't fight Hamas while it was still in power," said General Ilan Paz, the former head of Israel's "civil administration" in the territories, "how could it gain control with Hamas in power and itself disintegrated?"

Furthermore, chaos in the territories would open the way to militants, jihadists and suicide bombers from the rest of the world, just as it did in Iraq. Iran, the non-Arab country that is now the main state patron of Arab radicalism, was quicker than any Arab government to offer money to the new Hamas regime. An intrinsic part of its wider strategic and nuclear ambitions, Palestine now ranks among its top foreign-policy priorities.

Abbas says that Hezbollah and al-Qaeda are already active in Gaza. From where, if not from such outsiders, have come the long-range Katyusha missiles that have begun to target southern Israel from Gaza? And if Hamas were driven from office, it would go underground again, resuming, with a vengeance, the "resistance" it has suspended.

As for the Arabs, they would be at least as subject to the fallout from Palestine as they are from Iraq's. Their discredited regimes hardly know what to fear more: the example of a Hamas democratically installed or undemocratically ousted. The first would encourage the ascension of their own Islamists. The civil war liable to result from the second would arouse even more dangerous passions among them. Broadly speaking, Hamas has Arab, especially Islamist, public opinion on its side, and the more the regimes defer to the US in its anti-Hamas campaign, the greater discredit they will fall into.

For Rami Khouri, a leading Beirut columnist, the Palestine cause risks being transformed from a "national" into a "civilizational" one, with "potentially dangerous linkages between events in Palestine-Israel and the rest of the Middle East."

"Hundreds of thousands of young people will feel duped and betrayed," Khouri said.

"The wellspring of support for Hamas and Muslim Brotherhood-style democratic engagement will slowly dry up in favor of more intense armed struggle. They will stop wasting time trying to redress grievances through peaceful, democratic politics or diplomacy ... Bringing down the Hamas-led Palestinian government will bring further radicalization, resistance and terrorism across the region," he said.

Well aware of this resonance, the Palestinian finance minister, Omar Abdul Razeq, warned: "The entire region will catch fire if the Palestinian people are pushed to a situation where they have nothing to lose."

Suddenly this month the Bush administration seemed to grasp something of the perils it is courting. And those US-engineered privations of Gaza were too scandalous to ignore. At a meeting of the Quartet (the EU, the US, the UN and Russia), it offered US$10 million in emergency medical aid. The largesse was paltry and grudging, but at least it seemed to indicate that Washington had given up hope of bringing about immediate "regime change" via economic ruin.

Gideon Levy, a pro-Palestinian Israeli commentator, was even moved to say: "Hamas is winning."

Hardly. For the only substantive way in which it could be said to be doing that would be if the US started drawing the right conclusions from this spectacularly unwelcome result of Arab democratization -- the most important of which is that, were it not for US policies, Hamas would never have won the elections.

But that would require a fundamental, revolutionary change of heart. In the opinion of Walt and Mearsheimer, the extraordinary US attachment to Israel, that moral and strategic "burden" stemming from the "unmatched power" of the lobby, makes it impossible any time soon.

So the fear must now be that, long before such a thing could happen, the Middle East's "dangerous linkages" will assert themselves even more dangerously than before, that those two ongoing crises -- Palestine and Iraq, which the attachment did so much to engender -- will be joined, and fused into a single mega-crisis, by a third: when, on its protege's behalf, the Bush administration goes to war against Iran.


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June 2006


(June 30, 2006)
Dreaming or Waking? Reality or Nightmare? The Israelis have lost all perspective and all credibility. Over many years they have created the situation that is today exploding. Over many years they have provoked the response they are now getting. When will the world community step in and right the wrongs the UN itself, and so many of the western nations, most especially the US and the UK, are so complicitous in creating?

NEOCONS Attack - Prince of Darkness in the Washington Post
(June 26, 2006)
The "Neocons", that cabal of individuals and groups that planned and plotted the 'New World Order', many of whom are hard-line Zionist and Jewish, is at it big time. Behind the scenes as well as out front the "Neocons" are pushing and manuevering more than ever, even though they are more exposed and some say more on the defensive than in earlier years. Over the weekend none other than the Prince of Darkness himself, Richard Perle, made an unusually direct assault on the Bush Administration, however seemingly obliquely by targeting Condi more directly than George. Furthermore, more and more, it is the editorial page of The Washington Post, feeling the heat from such publications as the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Times, that makes itself available to the "Neocons".

Bush Affair With Condi? Can It Be?
(June 20, 2006)
Who knows what to believe anymore about what's going on at the heart of the American Empire in this imperial capital. This is not our usual thing, that's for sure. But the 'mainstream media' has so discredited itself in recent years by missing, ommitting, and wrongly spinning so many critical stories that the Washington rumors about this one can't just be dismissed and poohooyed totally. I

(June 19, 2006)
When pressed in public American officials say they are not building 'permanent bases' in Iraq. But then just what is the definition of 'permanent bases' and just where are all those billions going and what are all those contractors doing in Iraq? Americans officials have certainly earned considerable skepticism and disbelief about what they say -- to say the least! Nearly half of the American public do not even believe the official 9/11 story and when asked by pollsters says another investigation not run by government is needed.

Israel and US Prepare Palestinians For Civil War
(June 18, 2006)
In recent weeks clandestine arms shipments have gone from the Jordanians via Israel to the forces of Mahmoud Abbas, long connected with the Americans and the CIA. Now rather buried and camaflouged in this Haaretz article published today is limited information how the Fateh forces are being built-up, armed and financed, by a coalition that includes the Israelis, the Americans, the Arab 'client regimes', and the more skeptical but nevertheless on board Europeans. Unless the Palestinians could be forced into a rump and unreal Palestinian State more imprisoning them than freeing them, the alternative Israeli policy has been for some time to foment a fratricidal Palestinian civil war. They are now closer to this goal than ever.

Imperial America - Democracy Slipping Away
(June 17, 2006)
The warnings that American Democracy itself is endangered have been coming from the heart of the political and intellectual establishment for some years now; but the public just doesn't get it and the corporate military-industrial media just won't focus on it. Walter Cronkite has tried to speak up, but he has been side-lined and muzzled. Bill Moyers has tried to speak up, but he has been exiled from PBS. Just yesterday, by 5 to 4 with the two Bush appointees voting with the government, one of the main 'exclusion laws' enshrined in British Common Law since the 14th century as well as long-held Supreme Court precedents was overturned. Now police can invade private homes without knocking and announcing - something Americans have always expected and indeed demanded. This article about the new 'Usurping King Called George' is published today in The Guardian in London, just as 'The Israel Lobby' article couldn't be published in the US but had to be published instead in The London Review of Books.

(June 4, 2006)
Eight years ago the political manueverings with the CIA, the Palestinian Authority, Hamas, and of course Israeli, the Mossad, and Washington, were considerable. What was done then is precursor to what has happened since and what is being planned now. Now the CIA and Mossad are more involved with the Fateh movement headed by Mahmoud Abbas than ever before, arming them in fact for the civil war the Israelis have long considered a good alternative if the Palestinians couldn't be forced to sign away their rights and live as Indians on Reservations 'peacefully'. This MER Flashback to June 1998:

(June 4, 2006)
Even the U.S.-approved and backed new Prime Minister of occupied Iraq has lashed out at the Americans declaring that what happened at Haditha was not an aberation but "common" -- yes indeed that's the actual word he used a few days ago. Hardly the kind of thing Americans will hear on their Sunday talk-shows, nor can they read Robert Fisk's pithy analysis and truth-telling in their newspapers.

Stealing America to Force the 'New World Order'
(June 3, 2006)
Using various deceitful and hidden techniques and methods they stole both elections in 2000 and 2004. They repeatedly big lied about the Iraq War, and so much else, maybe it now seems even 9/11 itself. They've brought both Iraq and Palestine to the verge of impoverishment and historic civil war. And now the plans of the corporate titans in league with the Zionist Neocons and the hard-right Evangelicals are to further enforce their unstable 'New World Order' come what may, truth be damned, even with both devastating climate change and the growing risk of World War III in the balance. The "mega-crisis" we've warned of all week may soon become the lasting legacy of so much historic political theft and debachery. It's a kind of criminal political bankruptcy far worse than the massive economic bankruptcy of Enron and Bush's dear friend 'Kenny Boy'.

American Chicanery in the Middle East - now 'mega-crisis' looming
(June 2, 2006)
What the U.S. has done in the past in the Middle East, nearly always in tandem with the Israelis of course for quite some time, is considerably responsible for the current explosive situation in the region. What the U.S., Israel, and the UK are doing now may well in the end result in the "mega-crisis" predicted in the important recent article by David Hirst which MER featured earlier this week.

MEGA-CRISIS LOOMS Warns Senior Journalist David Hirst
(June 1, 2006)
Iraq, Palestine, Iran - the plans for 'regime change' by the pro-Israeli US neocons is threatening a mega-crisis in the region that will be felt around the world

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